US Department of Justice Requests Argentina Seize EMTRASUR Boeing 747

by Orinoco Tribune Staff, published on the Orinoco Tribune, August 3, 2022

On Tuesday, August 2, the US Department of Justice requested that Argentine authorities seize the Boeing 747—property of Venezuelan state-owned EMTRASUR and grounded by Argentinian authorities on June 6 at the Buenos Aires international airport at Ezeiza—on the basis of an alleged breach of the unilateral coercive measures applied against Iran’s Mahan Air and Conviasa, EMTRASUR’s parent company. The Iranian airline company Mahan had sold the aircraft in question to Venezuela.

According to a statement published on its website, the court of the District of Columbia issued a seizure order on July 19, in which it is “alleged that the aircraft manufactured in the United States is subject to forfeiture due to violations of US export control laws related to the unauthorized transfer of the plane from Mahan Air, an Iranian airline affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF).” Because Orinoco Tribune staff was unable to find an active link to the statement, it leaves the impression that the document was taken down.

Iran’s Mahan airline has been described by Washington as “terrorist. ” EMTRASUR is a recently created Venezuelan cargo airline and a subsidiary of the Venezuelan Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Air Services, SA (Conviasa), a Venezuelan state-owned company.

The cached version of the statement can be found here, but we also present on the right, a screenshot of its content. Click image, then ‘x’ in upper corner to see full size.

According to the US government, since 2008 the Department of Commerce has “prohibited” Mahan Air from “any transaction involving any product exported from the United States that is subject to the Export Administration Regulations,” a provision that, in its view, would have been violated in October 2021 when the Iranian “transferred custody and control of the Boeing aircraft to EMTRASUR without the authorization of the United States government.”

These moves constitute a new wave of illegal attacks against the peoples of Venezuela and Iran, for their refusal to be a neo-colony of Washington,” a Venezuelan international analyst told Orinoco Tribune. “In this seizure”, another asset lawfully acquired by the Venezuelan state is being stolen, using any sort of pseudo-legal maneuvers. In the meantime, a crew of 19 human beings are being subjected to all kinds of media exposure, in addition to their illegal detention for almost two months

Washington’s request to Argentina was revealed a day after an Argentine judge allowed 12 of the 19 crew members of the plane to leave the country as authorities continue to investigate possible “territories” of those traveling in the Boeing 747. Federal Judge Federico Villena said late Monday that the remaining four Iranians and three Venezuelans must stay, according to AP.

The US agency continues stating that “additional violations of US export control laws subsequently occurred between February and May 2022 when EMTRASUR re-exported the aircraft between Caracas, Venezuela; Tehran, Iran; and Moscow, Russia, without US Government authorization.” The term “re-exported” was left unclearly defined.

It was also stated that the captain of the aircraft “was identified as a former commander of the IRGC, and a shareholder and member of the board of directors of the Iranian airline Qeshm Fars Air.” In reality, even sensationalist Argentinian news outlets have retracted original announcements claiming this, because the alleged IRGC commander, who happens to have the same last name as one of the Iranian crew members instructing the Venezuelan crew on flight and operation of the aircraft, died several years ago.

Following this narrative, Argentine authorities determined that the Venezuelan Boeing 747 flew to Tehran in April 2022, based on the flight records found inside the aircraft, a regular component of EMTRASUR’s legitimate operations, as the company began cargo operations in early 2022 and the plane has flown already to several countries.

Although the plane was acquired by EMTRASUR by 2021, the United States Department of Justice alleges that the Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Mahan Air in 2011 “for providing material support to the IRGC-QF,” insisting on the Iranian ownership of the airplane, when the aircraft was lawfully bought by Venezuela. The US DOJ continues arguing that a similar measure was extended to Qeshm Fars Air in 2019, for allegedly “being controlled by Mahan Air and for providing material support to the IRGC-QF.”

Along similar lines, the US DOJ referred to the fact that Conviasa, the parent company of EMTRASUR, has been subjected to unilateral coercive measures since 2020, although “its fleet was blocked in accordance with an Executive Order from 2019.” EMTRASUR did not exist at that time, and formally, it is a different company than Conviasa.

Based on these issues, the US Department of Commerce “issued a Temporary Denial Order” dated August 2, with which “EMTRASUR’s export privileges are suspended for 180 days, with the possibility of renewal.”

Assistant secretary of the US Department of Justice, Matthew G. Olsen, justified the resolution by assuring that his role was to monitor sanctioned countries so that they did not violate the “export sanctions and laws” imposed by his government.

In an undeniable imperialist tone providing ground for US illegal and criminal sanctions, the US bureaucrat added that “the Department of Justice will not tolerate transactions that violate our sanctions and export laws,” adding that “working with our partners across the globe, we will give no quarter to governments and state-sponsored entities looking to evade our sanctions and export control regimes in service of their malign activities.”

The case is under investigation by the Department of Commerce, the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the assistant district attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and various professionals linked to the Biden administration. It was further noted that “the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in working with Argentine authorities,” demonstrating the submissiveness of the Alberto Fernandez administration to US orders and imperial abuses.

During the whole circus operation around the Venezuelan EMTRASUR Boeing 747, the Argentinian justice system and intelligence apparatus, deeply penetrated by US and Israeli intelligence, has been instrumental in leading a new attack on the Venezuelan people. The Zionist lobby in Argentina has played an intensive role in this new attack against Venezuela and Iran, with their congresspersons and lobby organizations leading a judicial process based on fake news and smear campaigns.

*Featured Image: Paraguay had alerted Argentina about the Venezuelan plane with an Iranian crew seized in Buenos Aires

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